|From the Executive Director|
In late November I will celebrate the 14th anniversary of my ordination. Little did I know back in 2000 what shape my ministry would take. I didn’t know I’d leave my beloved California for the Southeast for 13 years. I didn’t know I would serve three congregations and become the first Executive Director of the UUMA. And I certainly didn’t know there would come a time when I would sit in board meetings for nine straight days, as I did in October. Isn’t life and ministry a wonderful surprise?
With all these numbers floating around my head there are two numbers that I have been thinking about more than any others. 1816 and 24. If we were sitting in a meeting I might ask you to take some guesses of what those numbers are. But since we aren’t let me tell you. 1816 is the number of members we have now in the UUMA. As far as we know, it’s the most members we have ever had in the UUMA. Since I learned this number at our UUMA Board meeting I have been spending some time each day thinking about it and what the number means.
1816 represents those people who have dedicated their life to serve the world and our faith through ministry. They are my people, people who I love and am privileged to serve. They are young and old; in seminaries and in prisons; in pulpits and non-profits, healthy and ill; active and retired; inspiring preachers and supporting chaplains. They are certain of their call and purpose in life and they are in discernment and sometimes a little confused. They are over-functioning and under-utilized. Most of all they are human beings with gifts and talents; dreams and disappointments who have chosen a life and vocation that provides the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
24 is a number that I learned a few years ago. A communications expert claims it is the number of times it takes marketers, or anyone who is trying to get a message out, to send something before it’s heard. It’s a number that sometimes depresses me and more often challenges me. How do we get the word out about the many opportunities in the UUMA to learn, to serve, to connect more deeply with colleagues, to make sure that each and every one of our 1816 never feels alone and always knows someone needs them?
Facebook, Twitter, E-updates, chapter and cluster meetings, UUMA Connect and are some of the ways we do our best to hit that magic 24 number. But the best numbers are still one to one. Those moments when we connect eye to eye, heart to heart. In a busy world like ours those numbers may be harder to make happen but may each of us find time each day to make them so. Call a colleague or stop by and say hello. Let them know how much you appreciate them and let them tell you too. In less than 6 years you will have met each one! Thanks for your ministry and service to the world and each other. You are number 1 in my book!